International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)

International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)
Call for Papers | Fully Refereed | Open Access | Double Blind Peer Reviewed

ISSN: 2319-7064


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Research Paper | Arts and Humanities | India | Volume 12 Issue 3, March 2023 | Rating: 4.5 / 10


Performance, Identity and Exposure: Representation of Tribal and Folk Culture in the Theatre of Contemporary West Bengal

Sougata Chakraborty


Abstract: There is no denying, in my opinion, that what we understand as tribal folk culture and performance is vastly different and distinguishable (formally, visually and aurally) from the popular and prolific cultural forms and performances that take place around us and that we constantly consume as audiences all the time. Besides the Institutional approach intended to promote and showcase the cultural heritage of the tribes of India (like the organisation of such festivals as "Aadi Mahotsav" an initiative of The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India), the medium of Theatre practice in India (which mostly follows the convention of the Proscenium theatre) has also been seen turning towards these socially marginal cultures in terms of themes, aesthetics, borrowing myths, using actors/performers, style of performance etc. So the interaction of folk or rather tribal folk performance which brings with it its own sensibility and style with say the proscenium stage that has its own set of rules prepares the ground for study of a relationship that ought to be critical in nature. This paper attempts to add to the discussion of the theatrical stage being a meeting ground of disparate cultural practices and to understand the tribal culture's place in it, with reference to a few instances of theatre practices of present day West Bengal. The paper will also deal with the issue of the identity of a tribal performer, the politics of representation and the possibilities of representation. I have followed the ITRANS unicode for transcribing the names of the theatre productions and Bengali words mentioned in this paper.


Keywords: tribal, folk culture, performance, proscenium, representation


Edition: Volume 12 Issue 3, March 2023,


Pages: 176 - 179


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